Weddin Shire Council

Council News - 22 February 2017

The big news last week was the announcement by the new Premier the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP in regards to the Governments future Local Government Reform direction with the Premier announcing the following:
 All existing amalgamations will be unchanged (in the city and in regional NSW)
 Planned forced amalgamations in regional NSW will not proceed ie. Bathurst/Oberon and Orange/Cabonne/Blayney
 Pending forced amalgamations in Sydney that are subject to court proceedings will go ahead, subject to decisions of the courts
While regional Councils are very pleased the City Councils will not be as pleased as they are left with ongoing challenges as they continue to fight for their future in the courts, and in the case of amalgamated Councils, manage significant internal change ahead of the next Council elections.
As residents are aware Council has previously avoided amalgamation and we are now deemed ‘Fit for the Future’ (FFTF).
A major component in our FFTF submission was our Improvement Action Plan (IAP) which will need to be implemented to ensure we remain FFTF. The IAP is detailed below and it is very pleasing to advise Council is well advanced in the implementation of the plan.

Improvement Action Plan

Actions

Milestones

1. Implementation approved SRV - to achieve a more robust revenue base.

Commenced 1 July 2015. To be progressively implemented over 4 years as approved.

2. Undertake collaborative Mid Lachlan Alliance ‘Fitness Campaign’ – Using a project agent the collaborative project will embed the fiscal responsibility principles into the organisation and undertake service reviews. These actions will facilitate increased strategic capacity to positively impact the organisations long term sustainability and ensure our structure is ‘fit for purpose’.

To be implemented as per approved FFTF innovation fund grant.

3. Review of Asset Management Plans and Asset Classes - Revalue infrastructure including assessment of useful lives after conducting condition assessments and then use this information to inform a review of Asset Management Plans (AMPs) and be articulated into the IP&R as part of an asset preservation strategy. The ‘Fitness Campaign’ will help link service level to depreciation policy and impact AMPs.

To be conducted annually in accordance with OLG guidelines. Note - Roads and Drainage impacts included in 2015-16 financials. Buildings assets class will be completed in the 2016-17 financial year.

4. Make strategic use of debt and comply with SRV approval - Utilise debt funding to facilitate building Grenfell Health (Medical Centre) and Grenfell Pool renewal.

Loan funding approved in relation to the Grenfell Pool upgrade with loan funds drawn down in the 2016/2017 financial year.

5. Achieve cost saving and efficiency gains – Innovation fund project and also ongoing Implementation of FFTF strategies - for example progressively implement findings of procurement road-mapping program to increase the organisations procurement capability.

Innovation fund financial sustainability fitness project to be implemented as per approved innovation fund project and other FFTF strategies implemented on an ongoing basis.


It will be imperative that the IAP continues to be implemented to increase efficiencies and income as well as reducing expenditure. Other strategies such as the review of asset management and financial systems and processes, work force planning, fees and charges and procurement processes will also need to be implemented to enable Weddin Shire to continue to be a stand alone independent Council.
A major component of the IAP (point No.2) is to undertake a collaborative Mid Lachlan Alliance ‘Fitness Campaign’ in collaboration with the Mid Lachlan Alliance Council’s Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shires.
As residents are aware grant funding has been approved under the Innovation Fund for two projects as follows:
1. To deliver a Fiscal Responsibility Action Plan (FRAP) ensuring that each of the Councils adopt sound financial principles, are fiscally responsible and meet the NSW Government’s Financially
sustainable requirements, particularly in regard to submitted FFTF proposals and the new legislation set out in the recent Local Government Act, 1993 amendments.
2. Complete two comprehensive efficiency and service reviews on two of the Council’s largest recurrent operational programmes being Roads Infrastructure Maintenance and Parks and Gardens Infrastructure Maintenance.
The Director Corporate Services Mr Lachlan Gibson and I attended a Mid Lachlan Alliance meeting in Sydney on Wednesday 7 December, 2016 held together with representatives from the Auditor General’s Department and the Division of Local Government to ensure that prior to commencing the ‘Fitness Campaign’ we are all on the same page and going in the one direction to achieve the desired agreeable outcomes.
Representatives from the Auditor General’s Department advised they will be conducting financial and performance audits on Councils so it will be imperative that our asset management and financial systems are in place to enable us to provide quality services to our ratepayers in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Representatives from the Division of Local Government advised they expect Councils ‘Fit for the Future’ (FFTF) IAP’s, which incorporate the above two projects, will be delivered and that the four organisations will become stronger, more resilient and be able to take advantage of any opportunities that avail themselves to the Councils.
A meeting was held in Parkes on Monday 23 January, 2017 to endorse the Request for Tender (RFT) Documentation for the Fiscal Responsibility Action Plan (FRAP) and the Service Review Action Plan (SRAP). The FRAP and the SRAP were also endorsed as the base documents for tender responses through an Interactive Tender Process (ITP).
The tender will be advertised in the first week of March 2017.
Member for Cootamundra The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP has called for nominations for the 2017 NSW Seniors Local Achievement Awards.
Seniors make a huge contribution to our community and the NSW Seniors Local Achievement Awards are an opportunity to thank a senior for everything they do to make our community a better place.
The 2017 NSW Seniors Local Achievement Awards can celebrate seniors’ achievements across a range of categories including business, environment, science, agriculture, health and wellbeing, learning and community service.
Nominations for the 2017 NSW Seniors Local Achievement Awards are open until close of business, Friday 24 February, 2017.
For more information, including nominations forms, please contact Katrina’s electorate office by Phone 6382 2399 or email Cootamundra@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP has also advised that applications for the FACS High School Scholarships are now open. Students from disadvantaged families in the Cootamundra electorate are being encouraged to apply for new scholarships worth $1,000 to support their education.
The Scholarships are open to students in Year 10, 11 and 12 at a NSW High School or TAFE College and funds can be spent on expenses including textbooks, course fees or practical supports such as child care and internet access.
The program will award 240 applicants $1,000 to help with their studies. Twenty successful students will also be eligible to receive both a scholarship and mentoring.
Applications close on February 24, 2017. For more information or to apply visit: www.facs.nsw.gov.au/education
Department of Primary Industries have advised that NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts 2017 Grants are now open.
When fishing in NSW recreational fishers are required to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee. All money raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee is placed into the Recreational Fishing Trusts and spent on improving recreational fishing in NSW.
Projects that improve recreational fishing are funded. Types of projects that are often funded include:
 Fishing infrastructure projects such as fish cleaning shelters, fishing platforms, safety infrastructure and enhancement of fishing access.
 Fishing education projects and projects that increase participation in fishing such as targeted fishing workshops.
 Recreational fishing research projects
 Gone fishing NSW fishing club grants
 Fish stocking and fish habitat projects are also funded.
For more information visit the Department of Primary Industries website: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/media-centre/releases/2017/nsw-recreational-fishing-trust-grants-open
The Art Gallery’s current exhibition is ‘Indigo Blue' By Maureen Locke-Maclean which will be on display until 26th February, 2017.
This exhibition comprises of works using the Japanese hand stitching and dyeing in Natural Indigo known as "Shibori" which roughly translated is putting memory into cloth. The design is hand stitched, compressed by drawing the stitches together and then dyeing in an Indigo Vat. Indigo is a natural plant dye i.e., Indigofera. Garments have been dyed in Indigo throughout Asia, India, Far East Africa, Europe for many centuries and Indigo was also used as currency for trading.
The Gallery’s opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10am - 3pm & Sunday 10am - 2pm.
The next film to be screened at the Grenfell Cinema will be advised in due course and if you would like to request a particular movie please contact Lisa at Council’s administration office. Ph 6343